Recent decades are characterized by a decrease in male fertility. There are therapeutic interventions able to help, but they are usually associated with high costs and failure rates. Drug and alcohol abuse negatively affects male reproductive health in several ways. It also might be a significant contribution to serious health problems, including, but not limited to, infertility, STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), and cancer (Sansone et al. 2018). A detailed description of each of these problems is given below.
Substance abuse puts men at increased risks of contracting STDs. One of the reasons is the decreasing effect of substance abuse on inhibitions. Moreover, alcohol suppresses the immune system; hence, the chance to contract STDs is higher. Sexual arousal is another critical problem experienced by men using drugs and alcohol. Even in small and moderate amounts, alcohol might decrease apprehensions and sexual desire. The reason is that alcohol is a depressant of the central nervous system; therefore, it slows the brain and body. Finally, substance abuse causes male fertility problems due to the hormone levels changes. For example, the use of cocaine and marijuana influences the sperm movement leading to infertility (American Addiction Centers 2019).
Most exposures do not significantly increase the risk of congenital disabilities. There are exclusions of this rule in cases with some of the substances. For instance, males with cocaine abuse might be a reason for their future babies memory loss and learning disabilities. Nicotine is also able to alter the DNA in semen (NHS 2016). Male alcohol consumption can affect genes in semen, which directly influences the development of healthy fetal development through DNA methylation. Several studies on rats and mice revealed that male alcohol abuse is responsible for spatial learning problems, mobility and cognitive issues, and low birth weight.
Although men do not have a blood connection with the baby during the pregnancy, the small amounts of substances they use might be present in their semen. The best way of dealing with the issue is by obtaining help and becoming abstinent through long-term recovery programs. Most of the current studies aim to reveal the epigenetic role of fathers in promoting the development and survival development of their children. The paternal epigenetics of inherited nature should be organized in lifestyle alterations and clinically applicable recommendations.
American Addiction Centers. 2019. “What Role Does Drug Abuse Play in the Health of the Reproductive System?” American Addiction Centers. Web.
NHS. 2016. “Dad’s Age, Diet and Lifestyle May Cause Birth Defects.” NHS. Web.
Sansone, Andrea, Carla Di Dato, Cristina de Angelis, Davide Menafra, Carlotta Pozza, Rosario Pivonello, Andrea Isidori, and Daniele Gianfrilli. 2018. “Smoke, Alcohol and Drug Addiction and Male Fertility.” Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 16 (3).